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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:00 pm 


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copy-paster wrote:
I recently did a Training mode of Neo Contra, going for a clear of course. I "cheated" my way through downloading complete save file on GameFAQs so I have all unlockables from the start.

Default weapon set is fun but I'm going with Type F clear first, because holy goddamn Type F is basically AKIRA: The Video Game 8) I'm pretty sure the machine gun was modeled after Kaneda's laser too, looks similiar there. Also I set default lives to 3 as a compensate of New Game+.


I always went with the Railgun/Flamethrower setup - the former's slick laser sight, pinpoint hitzone and monstrous damage really conveyed that "solid coke can fired at speed of sound" aesthetic. Flamethrower cancels red/blue bullets... which always felt a bit unbalanced to me, can't recall if the other starter Types can? But it was the innate defensive power that hooked me. Lock place and spin the stick, nothing gets close. Not without finding itself on fire, anyway. :cool:

Machinegun/Grenades always felt like the toughest of the default Types. I can't even recall what the buckshot-styled Spread was partnered with, it's been that long, but I thought it was a smart concession after complaints about Shattered Soldier's lack of it. I assumed SS dropped it to avoid tanking the more accuracy-geared Hit Ratio system; redesigning it for a shotgun aesthetic sorts that out. Wicked weapon, either pelting bastards at range, or GIVIN IT 2 EM in a point-blank lump sum. Keep tha change, ya filthy aliens. Image

Speaking of... fond memory of getting carded (well into my 20s) buying Neo at NA launch, because XTREEM GORE Image :lol: Very Slug-esque... down to it causing slowdown at times (nail a pack of grunts with the max charge shot, salsa and watermelon chunks flying all over the place). Friggin drill gun was good for a laugh.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:31 am 


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I'm not sure why but I replayed Alien Hominid's Xbox 360 port through again. I got to 2-2 on one credit before things started getting bullshit and I accepted credit feeding would become a necessity unless I actively wasted my life farming lives. the safest spot to infinite farm lives is 1-4 at the grinder, if you move just past it but not too far left enemies will only spawn from the right. Being in position at a screen edge to knife enemies technically gives more points per kill but is much less safe as an enemy can instantly melee you as they come onscreen.

There are several spots that became outright bullshit, to the extent that Alien Hominid is not simply a bad game, but the euroshmup memorizer of run 'n guns. There's several stupid sections where it's truly memorize or die, with inconsistent difficulty all over the place. There's a bonus early on where if you dig in a specific spot you get a 1UP, but later in the game a similar spot appears that's just there to trick you; you die if you dig there (sandworm eats you).

You've also got to learn what attacks are safe to dig into the ground to avoid, which will kill you, and which are technically unsafe due to you getting killed when you dig out. There's at least a couple bosses that I can't see a realistic way past without tanking through with lives due to how bullshit their attacks are, namely the Area 51 robot that grabs you whilst launching projectiles all over the place. The final boss is also a bit silly; he's certainly no Allen O'Neil and the easiest way to to avoid the instant knife is to stay on the ground at the far screen edge and jump whenever it approaches. The real hazard is getting out of the way of grenades, and reacting in time if he uses the extra smoky grenade that lights the entire ground on fire, forcing you to the upper platforms. If you're not in position to jump up to an open platform, you'll either get roasted or instantly knifed when you jump up next to him. The last section of the fight after the ship's wings are gone is a straight up damage race since you're way too close for comfort, and avoiding getting knifed is dicey to say the least, relying on jumping and doing downward shots.

The most bullshit sections are the power cubes boss in Area 51 where you have to hit the coloured panels to stop the entire arena from filling with electricity. It would be a difficult enough boss as it is, but it has infinitely spawning mobs that make it more or less bullshit to do legitimately. Thankfully, there's a blind spot on the electricity where you can stand on the extreme corner of a platform without getting hit, letting you shoot at the top panels safely as they light up. The worst though is the normal grunts in Area 51; they can outright block your melee attack, and do so multiple times in a row. One got in my face, blocked three knife attacks, and instantly fired a shot pointblank at me after the third block. What the actual fuck?

The space level in Russia is equally stupid; you have to avoid ramming into space mines and asteroids but your ship is always at the extreme edge of the screen when pushing the screen, so ramming into stuff and losing a few lives seems almost inevitable here.

As if to truly say "fuck it, let's make a credit feeder" you are not punished at all for using credits; your score remains absolutely the same when using a continue and there's no mention of how many continues you used. The only 1CC related achievement is beating the final boss without using a continue, which can be done relatively easily by just using level select to play 3-5 with a starting stock of 5 lives + 1 life gained during the boss.

Alien Hominid is as bad as it is fascinatingly sloppy. It's an absolute masterclass in how not to do a run 'n gun, the perfect demonstration of someone trying to make a Metal Slug of their own without any real polish or understanding that Metal Slug was never a credit feeder. I submitted a review on GameFAQs a few days ago but I think I was generous and didn't rate it low enough.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:56 am 


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I mean... it's an expanded console port of a browser game from 2002. Google suggests that it wasn't particularly well received on these boards even when it came out. But I guess it is nice to get an opinion from someone with experience.

Besides, everyone knows the best Flash game from that time period is Heli Attack 3.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:10 am 


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There's nothing necessarily wrong I think with taking a Flash game made as a concept demo and expanding on it to make a full game. The problem with it lies in the execution here. There's a ton of professional reviews that heaped praise on the game and rated it quite highly, but I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:31 am 


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Yes, the game was generally well received by critics.

It's absurd. It's indeed an awful, awful game.

edit: Haha, just managed to dig up my comments on the game from a Danish forum in 2005, and again in 2010 on the X360 version, and they are delightfully on point. I can see I haven't changed my stance on this turd.

One comment I made was on the critical reception: The reviewers must have been a little quick to think "Wow, this is like Metal Slug, so it gotta be good"


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 6:52 am 


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Back in the day, I liked the Alien Hominid Flash game well enough, but never played it to any extent, so I picked up the PS2 version from a bargain bin for 5 €. Played it twice, decided it's garbage with nice art, never touched it again.

My favourite flash game of all time remains Nanaca†Crash. We used to have a fierce highscore battle going on in the office back then. Frequently during the day, someone would get up from his desk, walk over to the whiteboard in the corner, and write down a new highscore, then get back to his desk without saying a word. This went on for weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:19 pm 


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Reposting a review of Alien Hominid as per BIL's suggestion:

Spoiler: show
Alien Hominid is a run 'n gun platformer (that originally started as a fairly basic Flash-based game) that tries to emulate the gameplay of the arcade hit Metal Slug, but is so amateurish in its execution that it honestly feels like the developers enjoyed Metal Slug but did not actually understand what it is about Metal Slug that makes it such a good run 'n gun game. Metal Slug was a smash hit in the arcades that spawned numerous sequels, featuring a cartoonish military aesthetic. The titular Metal Slug was a tank you could ride around, that would protect you from a few hits, and gave you some extra firepower. Metal Slug is rightfully regarded as one of the best run 'n gun platformers out there, due to its absolutely solid game design combined with gorgeously detailed artwork with tons of frames of animation, great sound design, and enjoyable levels. Metal Slug is a joy to play and should be experienced by any fan of this style of game, and because it was the very clear inspiration for Alien Hominid's design, this review will frequently compare the two. That's not to say that Metal Slug is the only run 'n gun series worth playing, and there are plenty other solid run n' guns out there such as Sunset Riders and Moo Mesa by Konami, or even various indie releases (such as REDPULSE, a relatively recent game as of the writing of this review). Heck, there are a few games that feel heavily inspired by Metal Slug such as Demon Front as well as Dolphin Blue that are highly enjoyable due to them being mechanically solid. Alien Hominid unfortunately is not worth playing, mainly due to how broken its core fundamentals are.

It's immediately clear when playing Alien Hominid that the game is designed around Metal Slug, with a few additional frills. You've got grenades to throw, and a shot that you have to button mash to fire (this was one of the few complaints about Metal Slug and I prefer it with a rapid fire setup). Tapping attack near an enemy uses a knife slash attack like Metal Slug, but you've also got a charge shot, which helps spare your fingers during bosses in theory, as well as the ability to jump on the heads of enemies to ride them around or bite them, and also the ability to dig underground, instantly becoming invulnerable to most attacks as you dig, whereby you can attack enemies from below for a short period of time, but cannot move until you dig yourself out. The shoulder buttons perform dodge rolls too, with forward rolling moving you under high bullets. You can also ride vehicles around, although due to their lack of health or maneuverability you'll generally not be able to use them for very long compared to Metal Slug's tanks. Unfortunately, much of this expanded moveset feels superfluous and impractical:

• Grenades have a strict 3 grenade limit, and you can't throw another one until the explosion animation finishes. They're also quite weak, and instead of mapping the button to a shoulder button so you can easily hold a charge shot while using grenades, it's mapped to a face button that's opposite your main shot. Compare this to Metal Slug, where grenades could be spammed very rapidly at close range for significant damage. The grenades in Alien Hominid end up feeling mostly useful for destroying buildings to get new weapons and a shield to provide some protection, as well as taking out the occasional enemy hiding behind cover.

• Enemies constantly spawn in Alien Hominid, meaning using the charge shot regularly can actually be riskier than trying to keep a constant stream of fire down to kill whatever's in front. The charge shot is handy for bosses though, but it seems with aggressive button mashing you can match or possibly beat the charge shot in damage, and on enemies that gives points per shot you get more lives by plinking them down with the basic shot.

• Running around and biting enemies gives more points than shooting them, but enemies can shoot out your hostage, putting you suddenly in danger at close range.

• Digging is helpful for getting the occasional secret, and you become invulnerable the moment you start the dig animation, but you can't stay underground forever as you asphyxiate eventually. There are also several attacks such as grenades or tanks driving over you that can kill you while hiding this way, meaning it turns into a bit of trial an error. Sitting still also feels antithetical to this kind of game and isn't a terribly fun mechanic.

• Dodge rolling has no invulnerability and feels like a poor way of moving around to make up for your relatively slow horizontal movement speed. You move under high bullets by doing a forward roll, but forget that and accidentally try to do a back roll and you'll get hit by a bullet. I'd have rather seen rolling mapped to one button that always did a forward roll, rather than keeping a useless back roll in the game.

• Firing downwards in the air lets you float longer. Both Metal Slug and Alien Hominid have a single, floaty jump when you press the jump button, denying you from making short hops. Unfortunately, Alien Hominid's downward firing thing is a curse as much as it is a blessing, as it can mess up your jump timing to evade attacks if you're also trying to fire at something below you. I'd much rather see Alien Hominid have used a more player controlled jump height, where you can make short hops or jump as high as you want, closer to something like Mega Man. The player's hitbox in Alien Hominid is much larger relative to enemy bullets than it is in Metal Slug, and enemies are very aggressive with faster attacks, meaning dodging is generally quite a bit harder.

• The knife eventually becomes unsafe and enemies can outright block it, multiple times in a row in the case of the Area 51 mobs. There's really no reason basic mobs should outright be able to ignore your melee attempts, and what can happen is enemies can quickly shoot you at close range in between knife slashes.

The game tries to replicate Metal Slug by offering various weapons, such as a piercing laser or an acid launcher cannon that visually resembles Metal Slug's shotgun. However, most of the weapons barely feel stronger than your basic weapon on bosses. There's actually only two really useful bonus weapons for bosses, namely the spreadshot and the rapid fire purple gun. The best part about getting new weapons ends up being the shield, rather than the weapon itself. I'm not sure how many hits the shield can take. It usually seems to be 1 hit, but I swear I sometimes see it soaking a hit without breaking. Some weird collision detection maybe? Compare this to Metal Slug, where all the weapons are a genuine upgrade on top of the basic pistol. The shotgun in Metal Slug is particularly powerful, whereas its equivalent in Alien Hominid is strictly a downgrade due to its close range nature and lack of damage on bosses.

Alien Hominid's art by Dan Paladin is cute and amusing, but the actual use of the art in the game leads to some gameplay issues due to things like poor colour scheme choices, or the art not making it clear where hitboxes are for platforming. Enemy bullets flash purple and green, in a game where many background elements include these colours. The levels set in Russia are particularly troublesome, with purple snow and green trees, where the enemy bullets do not stand out as immediately well as Metal Slug's flashing light blue/orange bullets do on Metal Slug's generally grey and brown desaturated backgrounds. And this isn't to say anything of the relatively massive explosions that can often distractingly cover elements of the screen in Alien Hominid. The most significant examples of collision detection boundaries not always accurately matching the art I can think of include:

• There's a building under construction early on where you can climb some girders. There's a section where it looks like you can walk up an angled girder to a straight one, but you actually fall through the point where they meet.

• There are some sandbags piled up in 2-1 that look high enough to potentially block enemy shots, but shots just barely travel above them, meaning you're in danger standing on them.

• Early on you can drive a bulldozer into some buildings that block your way. If for some reason you're on foot and not in the bulldozer, the building still blocks you, despite your character clearing being drawn as standing in front of it on the pavement.

• The PDA Games minigame has really wonky collision detection, where you can walk your character into the sides of walls. The walls only have a physical boundary in their center, past where their outer lines are drawn.

This game is hard. Normal and even Easy will absolutely brutalize players, even compared to Metal Slug's standards. Most of the difficulty comes from the endlessly respawning waves of enemies that tend to rapidly jump in and fire unexpectedly. Many bosses feature these respawning enemies, such as the early pudding boss where a key fire hydrant actually blocks your shots from reaching enemies that are behind it, meaning you can't even always deal with the respawning enemies. Though they only fire occasionally, it's just enough to seriously mess up your attempts at nailing down boss patterns. It's very easy for this game to fall into cheap deaths territory, far moreso than the relatively tame Metal Slug which is a difficult but entirely fair arcade game that allows you to play it at your own pace. Metal Slug has a time limit, but the time limit is very generous and enemies are not constantly respawning, so you can play it slower and more methodically if you want. Alien Hominid on the other hand demands lots of memorization to succeed without dying, and has no shame in throwing cheap deaths your way.

There's a couple of space flight levels that attempt to break up the run 'n gun elements but they're horrendously implemented. The controls are terrible, where you'll want to pretty much hold X and A constantly on the Xbox 360 controller. But you also want access to the B button as needed to boost thrust. Fortunately the game has unlisted mappings on the shoulder buttons (LT to fire, RT to boost) which are far preferable to allow you to feather the B button as needed. Still, the space flight levels control terribly, and generally consist of you getting swarmed while you eventually just run from everything using your ship's rear cannons, since it's way safer than trying to use the frontal cannons. The bosses in these levels aren't so dangerous as they are tedious, frankly.

As if to confirm that Alien Hominid is well aware of its unusual issues, you start with an unusually high number of extra lives (5) and a massive number of extra continues. It's almost as if Alien Hominid expects people to treat it like a credit feeding game, instead of a game that, like many quality arcade games, can reasonably be beaten on a single credit. There is an achievement for beating it without getting a game over, but to do so is frankly ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the scoring system or lack thereof; you get points for beating enemies, but there's no time limit and infinitely spawning enemies, and there's multiple sections where, with a lot of patience, you can essentially milk enemies indefinitely and rack up a huge number of lives (every 1000 points awards a life). Metal Slug had some scoring issues such as randomized value point items and a scoring exploit where you could shoot a specific tank constantly for a ton of points until time ran out, but even these don't match Alien Hominid's scoring problems, where score is rendered irrelevant due to infinite time, infinite enemies, and multiple safe places to milk them for as much score as your patience allows (amassing a huge stock of lives this way is probably the key to beating it on one credit).

To its credit, some of the boss fights are genuinely fun, but they feel too few and far in-between. The core gameplay feels sloppy, making it difficult to take seriously throughout its 15 or so levels. And 2 of those levels are the obnoxious space levels which are annoying at best to play. The constantly respawning enemies almost everywhere are also frankly not fun to deal with due to how they constantly pop in and can instantly fire off a shot at close range at you, making the level designs feel like a bit of a mess.

The main game features 2 player multiplayer, and a few minigames are 4 player. Multiplayer adds a bit of fun to things if a friend's willing to play, but frankly you could also just play Metal Slug or any other more competent multiplayer platformer instead. Shadow of the Ninja for the NES is a great one with multiplayer for instance, Gunstar Heroes is another classic for the Sega Genesis that's also fun while being more forgiving. Alien Hominid has many small minigames, but I'd rather they'd focused on tightening up the main game instead of making these. Indeed, the massive quantity of level packs as DLC for the mediocre PDA Games is rather questionable. Does anyone really want to play an unimpressive multiplayer platformer with spotty collision detection when trying to jump on enemies when they could be playing something else with multiplayer? And there's no real excuse for the weird collision detection that doesn't match the drawn elements. If you want a 4 player platformer, please consider something like Micro Mages instead, a homebrew NES 4-player game with amazingly fun multiplayer platforming.

Alien Hominid HD for the Xbox 360 is a widescreen remake of a game originally released on multiple 4:3 aspect ratio consoles. I haven't played the original Gamecube or PS2 releases so I don't know if anything mentioned here only applies specifically to the Xbox 360 release, but from what I've seen of gameplay footage, most of the issues apply across all versions of the game. I've beaten Alien Hominid on the standard difficulty, thanks to the aid of using a lot of additional credits.

The only reason I can say you'd want to play and own this is to unlock the additional character in the Xbox 360 version of Castle Crashers. Made by the same developers, Castle Crashers as well as their later BattleBlock Theater are far more competent games and actually worth checking out. I've put a lot of playtime in Castle Crashers so it's not so much that they're bad developers as it is that Alien Hominid simply isn't a well-executed game. It's a mediocre first effort, one that tries to capture the essence of Metal Slug, but fails to show an understanding of how Metal Slug's refined gameplay managed to make it a smash hit. Alien Hominid's issues with its game mechanics unfortunately leaves it feeling a bit like a cheap, amateurish attempt at a Metal Slug fangame, rather than a properly polished game that can stand on its own. 4/10
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:27 pm 


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Still on a Neo Geo roll and coming off Magician Lord, Neo Drift Out, and Over Top, I've been buckling down with Metal Slug now, to finally get the single credit clear under my belt.

Can no-miss it to the Final Mission on the majority of runs now as long as Allen doesn't troll me, but the difficulty spike is definitely very pronounced there. I've got the bridge more or less memorized, my main stumbling block is the first section on the gunboat. That gun turret is garbage, especially when the parachuters come in, but you kind of have to use it just to abuse the i-frames when jumping off of it. The rest of the stage seems like standard operating procedure from there.

One thing I noticed while getting "serious" with the game is that while the whole series has a reputation for no-holds-barred all-guns-blazing action, you actually gotta be pretty meticulous about what your doing if you wanna survive, which in turn lulls the action a bit in spots. I was trying to pinpoint why I always felt I preferred a Contra over a Slug, and I think it's the former's focus on pattern recognition while constantly keeping up the pace. Not that Metal Slug is in any way bad, I just think my tastes lean more to the Konami/Treasure school of run and guns.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:11 pm 


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Allen without fully armed MG is scary to me, it's easy to lost a life in here too. Final mission's bridge is excellent too. Nakazato Contras are among my favorite VG trilogies with Shattered Soldier is my favorite entry. I have yet to get serious in Contra III, but playing top-down stages with keyboard is pain in the ass.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:17 pm 


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Yeah, I always try to hold on to the machinegun in the run-up to Allen, using knives and bombs as much as possible to preserve ammo. After the gate with the explosive keg you can usually pick up some more ammo and then you're good to go. Allen sometimes fucks with me anyway though, if I'm too slow to read his side movement.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:58 pm 


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Despite Nazca's famous origins at Irem, I never truly considered Slug part of that legacy until revisiting them this year. The mastering process reminded me of what Perikles terms Irem's "living memorisation." Stages are mostly static and repeatable, and eventually too intricate to freewheel through - but you're not tied to one set solution, instead having the freedom to carve your own rehearsed path through the danger. By the time I was confidently no-missing stages, it truly felt like directing my own action flick. :cool:

Spoiler: show
Image


^ cannot overstate how enjoyable I found devising and executing that Image

This pairs perfectly with their light resource management - routes gradually accelerate as you learn how to shatter roadblocks, and where it's best to hold back.

(of course Slug does have some innate RNG, but generally not enough to disrupt routes - just creates a little tension, a fine touch)

The Irem title Slug reminds me most of (besides Kaitei Daisensou) is Saigo no Nindou, a notoriously un-memorisable game. Saigo's stage design takes after its apparent Taito inspiration, Kage: open ground and formless spawning, the player adapting their learned techniques to controlled chaos in real-time.

Mechanically, though, they share a trait so specific, I wonder if there was any staff crossover. The combination of free player/enemy overlap and massive attack hitboxes creates a distinctly un-Contra element of scrimmage. You can, and often should plunge through the crowd, gashing and blasting - but falter before a raised weapon, or fail to spot one, and you'll be killed with shocking abruptness. I can't think of another sidescrolling action game with this unique tension, the juxtaposition of free movement and monstrous firepower with icy danger.

Wherever it came from, it brings me neatly from my personal X-Files episode ( :mrgreen: ) to Allen. I used to think the knife takedowns seen in 1CCs were showboating, but if you can get his timing down, it's actually safe and quick.

Spoiler: show
Image


^ Metal Slug X, pretty much the same fight with added zako (and therefore added speed incentive). Sometimes, in both games, he'll slip away at the start. In MSX I won't chase, since it's easy to eat a zako grenade, but in MS1's head-to-head it's doable:

Spoiler: show
Image


Get really cocky and you can even slap it on 'im mid-fight. I sure as shit wouldn't try if this was the last stage like in MSX, though. :lol:

Spoiler: show
Image


^ goddamn, look at the snow falling off the ledge onto Allen's raging dome, as if it distracted him for a fatal instant - looks like some ninja assassin shit ImageImage MS1 is such a treasure.

Spoiler: show
Image

Spoiler: show
Image


^ Another bit of Saigo/Slug crossover. The corner-camping trick works like a charm in Slugs.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:32 am 


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Finally 1CC'd Expert on the Genesis version of Gunstar Heroes (as well as the hardest difficulty of the Game Gear port):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxGtGF4dLjo (Genesis ver)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGaHab2Jlc8 (GG ver)

So, let's get serious and chat about one of the best Sega Genesis games made: Gunstar Heroes. On Normal, the game is tame, and pretty forgiving. You can run around with your homing weapons and pretty much pound away on everything however you please. Melee attacks are very, very powerful, and you can use just about any weapon to demolish the game, especially given the extra hits you can take. Fun, without the fangs bared feeling something like Contra can give you. Hard takes that a notch up, lowering weapon damage somewhat while making attacks nastier. You also face all of Seven Force's forms. It's tricky, but manageable, and will give skilled players a good run for their money.

Then there's Expert. Expert is no-holds-barred madness, where multiple weapons are outright nerfed to oblivion, and several bosses are capable of sponging damage. Regular enemies fire lengthy, tight barrages of shots. The shmup stage makes all enemies fire back revenge bullets. Boss patterns mostly remain the same as Hard, but made even more difficult due to the increased time the bosses survive. I've not been able to 1CC it without exploiting the final boss's AI. It's pretty nuts. It's a lot more manageable when you know what you're doing, but there's still a few trouble spots that can potentially screw a run. But let's say you're a bit of a sucker for punishment and want to get the glorious 1CC. Kudos to you, here's how to nab it:


LET'S 1CC GUNSTAR HEROES (SEGA GENESIS) ON EXPERT WITH ME!

• SHOT TYPES

Free Shot lets you run while shooting. Sweeping weapons such as Fire, Fire + Fire, and Force + Lightning will stop you briefly if you sweep from forward to a diagonal or vice versa. You have only one air attack, a forward body slam. The hitbox is quite decent on it. This shot type has the easiest time with stages where you have to run forward such as Pink's stage and Stage 5. Bosses are more troublesome due to constantly moving whenever firing from a diagonal. Is the optimal shot type if you like the homing weapons, generally speaking, but a lot of the homing weapons are fairly weak on Expert.

Fixed Shot can't run while shooting, though you can make short hops forward while firing the weapon uninterrupted. Not as easy for getting through stages where you have to do a lot of running, but you get better air attacks in the form of a high jump kick (hold up) or a low jump kick (hold down), which have different hitboxes and give you a bit more flexibility. The main advantage is you can fire at diagonals without moving, making you ideally suited for dealing with a lot of the bosses with straight firing weapons.

I personally prefer Fixed Shot, but either one works just fine. Note that there's a No Damage run of Expert using Free Shot as well as a 1CC of the arcade version on Expert (basically the same as the Genesis just with far less health available), so Free Shot may technically be better for this sort of thing.


• YOUR WEAPONS

You get your fancy choice of starter weapon that also affects what weapon you have if you use a continue. These can be combined with new weapons to create weapon pairings that are often better than the individual weapons alone, but you can always use either individual weapon you have if you prefer.

Force: A basic machinegun type weapon that fires bullets directly forward with no spread, piercing, or any special properties. It's simple, but pretty effective on single targets, and three of its combinations are very effective.

Lightning: Fires a piercing laser beam. Thin, and frankly too weak to be used effectively on its own in Expert where it has a significant damage reduction. Has two effective combinations on Expert.

Chaser: Homing weapon that fires triangular bullets that slowly home in on enemies. At close range or point blank range it's surprisingly powerful, but at medium or long ranges the delay between shots hitting their mark makes it very weak. Has two effective combinations on Expert.

Fire: Shoots out a close range stream of damage. Sweep it diagonally by tapping up if you like. Tied with a couple other weapons for the most damaging weapon in the game, but the short range makes it very difficult to use on a few bosses where long range weapons are much more effective. Most bosses actually can quite reasonably taken down with close range weaponry though. Fire is also the only starter weapon in the game where any other weapon can combine with it to make something truly useful on Expert difficulty.

By holding down and tapping the shot button (or just tapping the shot button when hovering over a weapon in the shmup level) you can pick up a new weapon. Most of the combinations in the game are pretty useful, but note that the damage adjustments in Expert have been especially harsh to two of them, rendering them useless on Expert (but pretty effective on lower difficulties). The order you pick them up makes no difference to which combination you get:

Force + Force: A powerful spread machine gun. The lack of piercing is a problem for several areas but it has solid damage for bosses. Good mid tier pick that's easy to use, but look elsewhere for the really high end weaponry.

Force + Lightning: Fires laser beams in spurts that can be swept at diagonals similar to the Fire weapon. It's not overwhelmingly strong, but it's not that weak, either, and with quick sweeping it can hit the blind spots something like Lightning + Lightning or even Force + Force miss at a distance. Solidly mid tier, and better than Force + Force due to the piercing effect.

Force + Chaser: On lower difficulties it's quite decent, firing a stream of large Force bullets that can turn to 90 degree angles to hit enemies. However, Expert reduces it to a paltry 2 damage per bullet, turning it into the weakest weapon in the game. Using either Force or Chaser individually will get you better damage than using this combo. Bottom tier pick, avoid unless on Normal or below.

Force + Fire: A.K.A. the game's grenade launcher. Fires up to two shots at a time that explode when they hit something or if you let go of the trigger. Tap the shot button to fire it rapidly at close range for protection, or jump and fire it behind you to deal with enemies chasing after you. Many smaller mobs go down in one shot, rarely more than two. The flames also have a piercing effect, making it one of the best weapons in the game for general purpose. Damage on bosses isn't quite as high as a few other combos, but is still very powerful and versatile.

Lightning + Lightning: A thin, continuous laser beam that pierces everything for good damage but can only be fired in 8 directions, leaving massive blind spots in your aim. This is a problem on many enemies and bosses, where you can only hit with it by jumping or moving really close. If you want to use a long range laser beam, Force + Lightning is recommended over this for is versatility. This one makes it too hard to quickly and effectively sweep the screen of priority enemies.

Lightning + Chaser: Fires a homing laser that locks on to a single enemy and follows it around until it's dead. More or less worthless if using Fixed Shot due to the low damage, and also worthless on Expert due to it being way too weak. It can be a fun weapon when using Free Shot on the lower difficulties, though. Low tier.

Lightning + Fire: High tier pick. It's basically a laser drill. Tied with Fire and Chaser + Fire in damage per second. It fires a thin beam of energy about the length of the Fire weapon with a slightly narrower hitbox that deals incredible damage to anything it touches, while also destroying enemy bullets. There are a number of bullets this can destroy, including most of the bullets in the shmup level, and the stars that Green tosses at you. Also, the barriers Green's Crab Force launches at you (but it's too short ranged to really be a good pick for Green's level!). It's a difficult weapon to use due to the range, but one that enables you to cheese several bosses by outright blocking their shots.

Chaser + Chaser: Fires green homing stars that rapidly seek out targets. Like a supercharged version of single Chaser. The stars actually do slightly less damage per hit than single Chaser's bullets do, but because you can fire them in a more or less continuous stream, using double Chaser is still much better damage than single Chaser unless at or near point blank range. Low tier pick though, because Expert significantly nerfs its damage. Not quite to the range of being unusable, but certainly below your other choices.

Chaser + Fire: The big brain weapon of the game, favoured heavily by speedrunners. It is by far the most difficult weapon to use, but the one with the most potential. It has top tier damage, tied with single Fire and Lightning + Fire, as well as being long range and blocking all the bullets and attacks Lightning + Fire can. While holding down the shot button, you can press the D-Pad to guide the flame to wherever you want, meaning it's a weapon you have to really micromanage to keep it over enemies. If you press and hold shot without moving, it will fire a homing fire wave that tries to turn towards enemies but generally does so ineffectively compared to controlling it yourself. It's a fantastically powerful weapon that's also a pain in the ass to use cause you constantly have to mash the D-Pad left and right or up and down to keep it on top of bosses.

Fire + Fire: I really like this weapon, which does high tier damage, though admittedly there's a few fights where the lack of range is an issue. It deals slightly less damage per second than single Fire in exchange for being much, much longer. That extra range makes a huge difference and makes it very viable as a weapon in most boss fights. When you let go of shot, it fires the flame balls forward from whatever direction it was facing, dealing a minor amount of damage. It can be used as a weak ranged attack this way, but this mostly is a pain because you can't fire it again until those flame balls travel offscreen. A good general purpose weapon with above average damage that only becomes a liability in a few spots where you really want fullscreen range.

The general plan in Expert I recommend is get Fire, then try to pick up Force as soon as possible. The grenade launcher's just too versatile and useful to not use, and it's much easier to use than some of the other weapons. Double Fire is good, too, and handles enemies much the same way Force + Fire can. If you're comfortable with knowing what you can block then Lightning + Fire or Chaser + Fire are great too. Force + Lightning and Force + Force are suitable fallback combos if need be. Single Fire is always an option on bosses you can get close to safely for damage.


• THE CONTROLS

There's a few less obvious things you can do worth mentioning:

Throw: Hold a direction and tap attack when near an enemy. Some enemies can be thrown repeatedly by throwing them upwards, then throwing them again in midair. This doesn't deal extra damage, as damage only connects when they hit the ground. Note that the Game Gear version makes throwing much less safe on bosses where you could exploit the heck out of it originally such as Smash Daisaku's second phase on stage 5, and both of the Orange fights.

High Jump / Low Jump: Hold up when jumping to get a bit more height. Press down right after you tap jump do do a low hop. The higher jump is very useful for dodging stuff and it can help avoid stuff the normal jump height can't.

Jump Attack: Press jump in midair. Free Shot has one type of midair attack, Fixed Shot has either a high or low kick you can control by holding up or down when you attack. In addition to letting you wall jump off solid walls, it also makes you invulnerable to any attacks when you're actually hitting an enemy with it, which can be pretty useful for dodging stuff at specific points in the game. The flip up/down you do on platforms you hang from also gives you this kind of invulnerability when hitting an enemy.

The jump attack is also crucial for getting extra items from the orange item carriers. Item carriers normally only drop 1 item as they move past you. Hitting them with a jump attack causes them to drop up to 3 items, possibly more if they're health items and you somehow manage to pick up the health items then hit it again. They'll also drop an item if destroyed by an enemy attack.

Slide Kick: Hold diagonal down to slide kick even on surfaces you can drop from by doing down + jump. Invulnerable to damage when you're connecting with it.

Slide Tackle: Do a half circle input then press attack (back, down, forward + attack). This slide attack is a standing height slide attack that deals decent damage and seems a bit safer than the slide kick? Invulnerable to damage when you're connecting with it, this is particularly useful against the Minion Soldier boss in The Dice Palace who can throw you out of slide kicks.

In the Game Gear port, the input is changed to double tap forward + attack.

Pause: Game Gear port specific, just hold Start to pause instead of tapping it like you would to weapon swap.

Guard: On the ground when standing upright, press and hold jump + attack at the same time. Timing is strict. You put your hands over your face and greatly reduce the damage (half?) you take. Also makes you immune to knockdowns? It's better to dodge attacks, but this is helpful for reducing the damage from the exploding things between each of the Unit bosses (Unit of the Hammer/Dragon/Runner). Or if you want to play peekaboo I guess.


• THE STAGES

Stage 1: Pink, and The Ancient Ruins
I mean, you can do them in whatever order you're comfortable with, but you start each subsequent stage with an extra 20 health, so might as well do the easiest one first. Jump attacks are the fastest way to rush the stage, and getting hit a few times is worth it to grab a new item.

The Phantom miniboss enemies throw bombs you can toss back at them, or you can get close and throw them directly, but I recommend keeping your distance and firing away. The main hazard is a dash attack that comes out quickly on Expert you have to jump over to evade which can take off precious health unexpectedly.

For the pyramid climb, just hold forward and keep tapping jump. Ignore all enemies and powerup carriers (you'll likely lose way too much health as they fire aggressively). Bravoo Man's a joke as any time it gets close you can just jump attack through it. It may get the chance to use it healing move if you don't have a strong weapon, but whatever, it's still fairly easy. It takes a lot of damage from piercing attacks like Fire, probably because multiple segments register the hits.

Slide down the pyramid by hiding at the top left of the screen. There's a blind spot where you can slide down but the enemies bouncing down can't hurt you. Or be a badass and sit at the bottom right shooting everything and jumping over the shots that come, whatever.

There's a health item in the claw section you can do a jump attack off the wall to get 3 health items from it in total. Makes the Pink fight a joke. Pink's machine itself isn't too hard and can be cheesed with Fire + Lightning; its Hitman Shot consists of it stretching out a gunman to fire at you. Just weave between the lasers returning fire, or block them all with an appropriate combo (Fire + Lightning or Chaser). It can also jump from side to side or walk towards you, launching homing bombs followed by a big spiky ball you can shoot at to force it away from you. The easiest way to beat it is do a slide kick as it walks at you, jump up to hang from the underside, then shoot down all the homing balls as they approach.


Stage 2: Orange, and The Flying Battleship

The next easiest stage. Hug the left edge of the screen and hold a fire type weapon outward while jumping straight up. You should destroy the soldiers before they fire. Don't accidentally wall jump or grab a ledge by holding up! Once you see the top of the battleship, hop on (you can do a walljump off the left screen edge). The grenade that appear can be thrown back at the enemies.

There's a bug here where sometimes you'll take 20 damage as you go offscreen before the battleship flies back down. Oops. The miniboss is easy and is just a matter of shooting it while jumping over its attacks. It always does a jumpkick in a sweeping U-shaped pattern.

If you want a new weapon you can try and blow up the turrets here, but I suggest rushing past them. Try not to get thrown around by the soldiers and get to the boss, Swapping Reg. It's completely trivial if you high jump then wall jump off the screen edge to grab onto the grey wire hanging above, which you can stand on. Fire downward, and make sure to shoot down the next two turrets for the health.

Hello Smash Daisaku. Do NOT try to throw him or he'll take no damage AND use a special counterattack. Jump attacks are also worthless, dealing minimal damage. Just shoot him down, letting go of the trigger and jumping so you can make a long jump as need be to avoid the bomb blasts.

Orange's first encounter is annoying. He can slide attack at you, divebomb you after swinging around the rotor, and also fire off various blasts of blue flames at you. Hanging from below is probably the safest place to be as if he tries to attack you it's a chance to swing upward and escape or try and throw him. An exploit exists where you can bait his downward attack, swing upward just as it starts and throw him, but my timing sucks for that. If you throw him, always throw him up or down so he lands on the helicopter. If you throw him off the helicopter (or if he jumps off on his own, hah) he takes minimal damage.


Stage 3: Green, and The Underground Mine

I find Seven Force less of a hassle to deal with than Black's level is at times. The early part of Black's level can be a nuisance with all the enemies wanting to get a hold of you and throw you around. Again, stage order is up to you, do Black next if Seven Force is giving you trouble.

Hide at one of the screen corners and keep firing up then forward to stop most threats. You can duck and do a slide kick (hold up if on the ceiling) to evade forward firing lasers. Be very careful and jump away to the opposite side of the screen when the bomb thrower appears as it deals tons of damage (its location is random, hiding in the middle of the screen gives more time to react). When the first traincar appears, hiding at the far left of the screen and doing jumping shots, or standing and using Force + Fire and releasing the blasts under the enemies clears them. The homing bomb launcher that comes after isn't terribly hard.

The downward section has three sets of the laser wall enemies. Only strong weapons can reliably kill them, and they deal tons of damage if you're caught in them. Expert gives you only a tiny window to dodge past them, so try destroying them by hiding at the top and firing downward the moment one is onscreen. Force + Fire works well as usual.

More bomb throwers to watch for, just evade them. Getting hit can be extremely painful (30+ damage if you get multihit). The next set of traincars can be dealt with the same way as the first, but watch out for the last one that has two bomb throwers plus a soldier who fires relentlessly. Smash Daisaku's just a joke character here, poor guy.

Seven Force is the main attraction of the level, and always starts with Soldier Force. It then apparently picks randomly, alternating between vertical shaft Forces (Urchin, Tails, Eagle) and horizontal shaft Forces (Blaster, Tiger, Crab).

Soldier Force: If you're above it, or above and behind, it'll toss boomerangs. If you're behind it on the bottom it'll back up to step on you. In front of it, it will usually boomerang you if you're above, and fire the downward arcing balls if below, but it may randomly pick one unexpectedly. The main threat is the arm stretch which gives almost no warning time on Expert and multihits for significant damage. Do NOT get caught by this at close range above him. Sit on the far right of the screen firing away, top right usually being safer since the boomerangs are easier to read coming out. If Soldier Force gets way too close for comfort, quickly go to the ceiling and run past it at the far left. It'll boomerang, at which point you can drop down to evade, lure it back to the left side of the screen, and quickly go back when the coast is clear.

Urchin Force: This shouldn't be a threat if you're ready to play Expert. It's just about reaction time and using a decent long-range weapon.

Crab Force: If I recall, you can destroy the walls and orbs with Fire + Lightning/Chaser? Otherwise, use a long range weapon and hide far away at the screen edge. When it uses a glowing back that fires diagonally be on the same side, when it uses a vertical wall on the same side as you switch sides, and for the metal balls just jump over them (jump early so you can quickly jump again if it does these twice in a row. Has a lot of health, learn its attack timing so it doesn't wear you down.

Blaster Force: A joke. Has a safespot directly above and below where its shot hits the floor or ceiling without damaging you. You can touch the gun without taking damage.

Tails Force: Start the fight on the left wall. The shots it fires deal minimal damage but when it's chasing you around the screen they can lock you down so it can get into ramming range. If it moves close, move low on the screen, then quickly dodge up and hop to the right wall. Once it flips once or twice, quickly swap walls to get past it. The tail isn't too hard to evade but deals a LOT of damage.

Tiger Force: Learn the timing of the blasts, and then learn to read the laser angles. Easy, but hits hard if you get caught by it.

Eagle Force: The trick to moving past when hiding in the corners is to always face outward. Your hitbox extends further back than it does forward, so when moving past it always be looking towards Eagle Force. This makes a difference when you're in the corner with its tail in your face, where turning towards the wall will cause it to hit you.


Stage 4: Black, and The Strange Fortress (and its Silly Dice Maze)

The beginning segment has a lot of enemies wearing red that love to rush you and grab you. Do your best to evade them. Three of them keep spawning at the boss in the middle of the first segment. The cannon thing doesn't have much health and can be jump attacked or shot at, but be careful about using jump attacks in case you move in front of the cannon as it's firing! Try to reach the Dice Maze with at least 120 vitality.

Luck is a major factor in how troublesome this is. Most rooms aren't too bad, a few are manageable but deal a punishing 20 damage whenever you're hit, and some are genuinely a nuisance.

Valvalion: It's a multisegmented boss that takes ridiculous damage from piercing attacks. Anything with Fire or Lightning will generally shred it quickly.

Timeron: Learn how to misdirect the bombs it drops. Remember the bomb it drops near the 10 second mark will not detonate in your face.

Rush and Go! 1: The one where you have only melee attacks (pressing shoot now punches) and have to punch the orbs to change the walls. It's slightly stupid on Expert because in the maze are three bouncing orbs that deal a lot of damage if you get trapped with one. Just wait the timer out if you need, there's no penalty for doing so. When going up, use jumping punches (don't use your multihit jump attack). The solution is up, up, right, right, hug the green wall then punch it, moving right as you do so but without falling down. Stand on the ledge to the right of where the vertical green wall was and punch so you can now run across toward the goal. If you fall down I'm not sure how to get back up the section where there's multiple yellow walls short of running back to the middle of the screen.

Sometimes as the walls shift, the damaging orbs will move THROUGH solid portions of the screen and pull shenanigans on you, so be very careful with your timing if you want to make it to the goal.

Minion Soldier: Piercing weapons are exceptionally useful to kill off the crowd it summons randomly when knocked down. It will do a jump kick if you try and jump over it, and will throw you if you try to slide kick. High jump -> wall jump can get you past it, and it is very susceptible to the slide tackle (back, down, forward + attack). Alternates between rushing you to try and throw you, and staying back while firing sparkles you can duck under. One of the harder fights here.

Melon Bread: If this manages to damage you, a deep sense of all-encompassing shame is the correct emotion to feel.

Pit: Everything here deals 20 points of screen crush damage. You can jump on top of the orbs as well as grab them from below, though. Piercing attacks are ideal, but on Expert you won't be able to speedkill the balls, so be prepared to evade the first wave.

Rush and Go! 2: If you don't have a piercing weapon, you can poke your gun through the walls and shoot to clear it before proceeding.

Phantom: A standard Phantom fight. Just evade or throw back the bombs, don't let it slide attack you, and grab the healing item.

Vortex Base: Insanely fast on Expert. The top left is a blind spot on several attack patterns though.

Curry and Rice: Fixed Shot has an advantage here. There's an angle you can do a downward jump kick and hit it safely under its arm waving attack. This boss is silly and I'm not sure how to deal with it without getting hit. Any time it punches or kicks you, use the invulnerability to try and throw it. Don't forget the head at the end actually damages you with its blast.

Abarenbou Gel: Apparently "abarenbou" translates to "rampage"? So "rampaging gel" I guess. High jump -> wall jump over it when it approaches, run away and fire, then repeat. Don't slide under it.

Super Gondola This boss is the reason you don't want a close range weapon. It can take a bit of time if you have an unsuitable weapon, and the bombs that can destroy the floor you're on are its biggest threat, so shoot those down.

And finally:

Black Beat Stepper: Joke boss. Has a ton of health but is trivial to avoid. Hide in the corner and then go over it as it approaches. The front foot determines what colour it's on. Blue means avoid the corner, Green means go to a corner, Red can be evaded by standing on the edge of one of the platforms, and yellow has the thinnest shot of all, where you just have to avoid being directly across from the center of a yellow panel.


Stage 5: The Highway (Destroy Them All!)

Grab Lightning + Fire at any point you can. It makes the next shmup level vastly easier, and works fine here even if it's not as easy to use in this level compared to Force + Fire. Piercing weapons are crucial for breaking over the boxes. Learn which ones have health you're comfortable with getting, and which you find it easier just to keep running and skip. Evade enemies by constantly using jump attacks to maintain forward momentum. The Phantom battles are standard stuff by now; deal with the fodder enemies first and then fight them as usual.

When the first dude on a large hovering vehicle appears before two stacks of crates, lure him to the crates and high jump up. You can grab and throw the entire vehicle downward, where its blast instantly destroys everything it touches, crates and all, for an easy 30 health.

The extra tall diagonal crate wall only has one health item, so pop it and get moving. Don't let the crates crush you for 20 damage.

When you get to the green enemy section, the giant walkers can either be shot, jump kicked, or high jump -> screen edge wall jumped over. Don't let the feet touch you or it's 20 damage, and that include when you destroy them (where their feet suddenly stick out slightly). Past a few destroyable barrels is a soldier hiding in a barrel. This is key to remember, as just past him is an item carrier that comes from the left carrying precious health. Move too fast and you'll scroll it offscreen soon after it appears! Walk forward slowly until the item carrier appears then rush it, jump attacking it so it drops more goodies. It's possible to grab a ton of items from it if drops more items after you've grabbed the first three, but often you'll only get 2 to 4 depending on how many it drops before an enemy happens to shoot it.

The really tall walker enemies are difficult. Again, wall jump attacks can reach the front of them and destroy them safely if they get too close to the screen edge.

Smash Daisaku is a pain. Treat him like the first fight in Orange's stage; don't throw or jump attack him. Just keep shooting, and avoid him when he charges up the dash attack (which is a great opportunity to shoot him). Phase 2 however makes him wide open for throws, where you can easily bait him into jumping up, and throw him out of the air for 400 damage a pop. This is easier than fighting him on the ground where his fireballs can be troublesome.


Stage 6: The Shmup Stage

Use a blocking weapon and just dodge/block everything. Free Shot and Fixed Shot both control exactly the same here. This is by far the easiest way to do this. Lightning + Fire is ideal. Otherwise, a rapid weapon like Force + Force or Chaser + Chaser is ideal for quickly downing the small enemies. Force + Fire actually sucks here I find as the blasts are too awkward to control and aim.

In the section where the screen scrolls left, hiding at the top or bottom avoids those giant blue laserbeams that come your way. Past the next asteroid segment are some teleporting enemies that fire shots inward. The trick is to boost jump out of each ring before they teleport in. After that is a soldier riding an asteroid snake (?!). He cannot be killed from what I can tell and deals the most damage out of anything here. Do NOT get rammed and focus on dashing away constantly!

The 1000MM Gun boss is trivial if you sit above it and aim below with a bullet cancel weapon. If not hide at the far right, dashing up or down between the lasers to avoid its blasts. The section after this is a bit stupid on Expert where two cannons are in front as a ton of enemies swarm above and below that return fire on you when destroyed. If you have a bullet cancelling weapon or a straight firing weapon, great, but if you have double Chaser like I did you'll have to stop firing, evade the cannons, then pray and dash through. Oof.

Seven Force's last appearance is easy. Just attack it from diagonals so you don't suddenly get rammed by Tiger Force or Tails Force, and boost dash away instantly when you see the red or blue of Crab or Eagle Force.

Inside the ship, swap weapons at the first item carrier before enemies arrive if need be (Lightning + Fire's short range is a liability on the next boss) and then jump attack the second item carrier to get three healing items from it. Do NOT try to fight the Phantom enemies here. They have lots of health, and despite dying from one throw are still sufficiently dangerous that evading them is by far the best option since you can run past them.

Unit of the Hammer is the hardest of the three bosses honestly. It takes a long time to wear it down safely. Get past it without taking too many hits and the fight it pretty much done. If you have trouble avoiding the exploding things between Units, use the guard command (press jump + attack from a standstill).

Unit of the Dragon's easy and dies quickly from piercing attacks, but the clouds it fires hurt a lot if they multihit you. Use slides and walljumps to aggressively evade it.

Unit of the Runner is easy. Always alternates blue and orange orbs, with blue going up at an angle and orange going straight. You can either hide at the far left and jump over the orange ones, or get close enough to jump over both orb types with a high jump and attack it at close range. Just look out for getting hit by the swinging arm if you get close (11 damage a hit).


Stage 7: The Final Battle

Duck Battalion is easy to slide under or jump over as need be. It's really just the warm-up fight for the stage and even a hit from the lasers will deal fairly low damage. Just don't get crushed by it at a screen edge for 20 damage.

When the hitman hops off, get close and do a vertical throw. Slide kick towards him if he jumps away and then go for throws again, all while ducking. Staying close and throwing him is the key to beating him without taking damage, or at least minimal damage.

The glowing balls is a matter of learning the sequence and where to move. Alternatively, jump attack through them. They do hit very hard so absolutely proceed with caution.

Pink Lobster is a damage race and is where you absolutely want a piercing weapon. Everything it uses is 20 damage so getting hit is very, very bad. The bubbles can be mashed out of but the mashing is difficult to do, so don't get hit in the first place. My 1CC of Expert had an atrocious Pink Lobster fight but still cleared thankfully. If you can bait it into using bubbles early on, take full advantage of piercing your way through them. Otherwise you have to keep evading the slashes while jumping away. You can't stand on top of it without sliding off to the side either, so no exploit there. Once damaged enough, Pink Lobster runs away and hides, protecting itself with its claw and using the bubbles when you get closer. The fight's over at this point, just move in close enough to trigger the bubbles, then jump out of range and keep blasting.

Orange is super easy to bait (in this version; he's a nightmare on the GG port). Stay above him while firing diagonally down below (Ground Burning Draft is used if you're below him at this point and is much harder to evade). Jump past him and keep firing down diagonally at him. If while he's above 5000 health he jumps to the same side as you, run away and do not engage. Instead of rushing towards you to grab you or slide attack you he may just be moving in to use Final Big Bang, which can't be punished. About when his health drops below 3500 or so he'll go into rushdown mode where he dashes towards you then jumps up or down at you. Lure him into being above you, drop below, and when he elbow drops down, grab him and throw him diagonally away as soon as he lands. You can throw him repeatedly every time he drops down safely this way and is very easy to do repeatedly.

The Black Fly is best dealt with a high damage weapon. Single Fire if you have it also happens to be easy to hit the wall generators he drops (easier than Fire + Lightning's thinner width) so pop the generators that come near, and hit him hard when he reappears. When Black stays on screen and uses the rotating 3 way attack, stand on the side of the elevator close to the edge of the vehicle, and do high jump -> jump attack to hit the vehicle so the beam moves past you safely as the jump attack is hitting. It's easiest to do this when the beam is moving upwards, so if clockwise move to the left side, and move to the right side if counterclockwise. This is much, much easier than trying to keep up with jumping around the screen as the beams rotate.

Green is a menace and vastly harder to do the "normal" way than the other bosses here. The big threat is his constant love of rushing and throwing you for 20 damage. If you're already worn down from the other bosses, this is a major health hazard. He'll block attacks at the start, but jumping up or down lets you hit him as he tries to follow you. When he takes enough damage he starts fighting for real. Thankfully, three AI exploits exist:

• Use Fire + Lightning or Fire + Chaser. It instantly deflects the stars thrown at you and can stunlock him afterwards. He always throws stars after taking gun damage.

• Use Force + Fire and explode grenades in his face. Sorta deflects some stars (but not reliably), and stunlocks decently. Make sure to mash attack to explode the grenades early. A workable option if you didn't manage to pick up the above weapons.

• There's some AI exploit where a slide kick baits him into an uppercut, which you can then throw punish. I don't know the timing for this or how it works though, so up to you to experiment.

Golden Silver is best tackled with Force + Fire, which the room conveniently gives you. Fire + Chaser also works well if you have it. Each gem takes damage so piercing weapons are ideal. Double Fire works if you want, Force + Lightning is less recommended due to how thin the shots, and how tiny the gems are. I've gotten absolutely destroyed by Golden Silver from a massive 157 vitality. The only safe way I've found to reliably tackle him on Expert is abuse an AI exploit when he uses Golden Blast Nuclear, the one where he stretches his hand out and creates a massively wide blast you have to stand near him to safely avoid. There's a magical spot where you can safely stand and he'll just keep trying to hit you while missing every time. From there, just shoot upwards at the gems:

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He'll do this all through phase 1 and phase 2 (where the gems circle his body) until he drops below 4000 health which triggers phase 3, where he'll immediately punch you away (since he stops using Golden Blast Nuclear and Earth Resolver in phase 3). Phase 3 is where he uses Jewel Strike, and the gems attack directly in nasty ways. Quickly damage race down the last 4000 health before you're killed and you've got the win. This means that you need far less health to survive his onslaught since, if you get the exploit setup quickly, you only need to fight one phase out of a normal three.

There's apparently an exploit where you can duck to bait his punch then throw him away repeatedly throughout most of the fight, but I have no idea how to set it up.

And that's it for the Sega Genesis version's Expert 1CC! Most strats should apply to the Mega Play arcade version, though you start levels with significantly less health there (80 vitality each stage I think?) so you have to really avoid damage to 1CC that version.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:37 am 


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Great stuff. :smile: Although I've played a lot of Alien Soldier, I think I left Gunstar at the normal 1CC... always meant to get back to it, I could tell Expert was a different matter.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:01 am 


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But wait! What if you'd like to 1CC the Game Gear port on its hardest setting?

Well, that's totally doable too. Hard difficulty (no Expert to be found in the port) will give you a very appreciable challenge. It's a very admirable handheld port given the hardware it was made for, and it mixes up things enough that a fan will appreciate playing it at least once. Many of the bosses are sufficiently changed that you have to relearn them (gasp) and old tricks and exploits will not work (double gasp). Throwing in general is finickier and I haven't found any way to throw bosses reliably the way you could originally. Throwing Orange or Smash Daisaku is mostly trading damage it seems!

Weapon balance is also quite different. Several combos feel unchanged and work just like before damage-wise (Force + Force, Fire + Fire, Lightning + Lightning). However, notable weapon changes include:

Force + Lightning: This is now the strongest weapon in the game in terms of damage as far as I can tell. At least, as far as a long range weapon goes (Fire and Fire + Lightning are so short ranged now that they're worthless). It's also sweepable so it's great for clearing the screen, and it pierces, which is still very useful in several situations such as the highway stage and against the Pink Lobster.

Force + Fire: Probably still useful vs Golden Silver. The projectile speed is slower relative to enemy size though and doesn't feel quite as powerful as it originally did. Still a good weapon though.

single Fire: The range is terrible. So terrible that jumping up and hitting Papaya Dance with it deals very low damage. Double Fire however is still a very decent combo.

Fire + Lightning: Worthless. It can block shots but that's rarely useful in this version, and the range is pointblank, being worse than Fire alone is I think? The hitbox is far smaller than the laser makes it appear.

Fire + Chaser: Damage is nerfed to hell, no longer the gamebreaker skill weapon it used to be. Double chaser is much easier to use and deals very acceptable damage, use that instead.

Chaser + Lightning: The damage actually feels even worse than on the Genesis version's Expert setting. Ouch.

Control changes include Pause set to hold Start, and slide tackle set to double tap forward + attack. Item carriers require a ton of hits with the jump attack to drop a third item now, so often you'll only get two out of them. :(

You can select between Free Shot or Fixed Shot, but visually you always look like Gunstar Red (Free Shot). You still get the jump kicks as your air attack when using Fixed Shot though, instead of your bodyslam attack as Free Shot, so that's a nice touch.

You can still throw grenades back at enemies, but it's often a bad idea to do so; the timing window to grab them is quite strict in this version.


LET'S 1CC GUNSTAR HEROES (GAME GEAR) ON HARD WITH ME!

• THE STAGES

Stage 1: Pink, and The Ancient Ruins


Easiest stage as before, and the only one with multiple item carriers that can easily be accessed. Green's stage has no Chaser items, and the weapon pickups come later in Orange's much harder Game Gear version of his stage. If you want to try double Chaser, which works well in this version, start with this stage to try and get it early as possible.

The stage is pretty much the same as before, except shorter and easier. The first Phantom enemy as you'll see is now just a soldier surrounded by sparkles. He has an awful lot of health though, as all the Phantom replacements do in this game. Don't try to melee or throw him as the game appears to favour the enemy for throw attempts in this version. Rush up the pyramid where Bravoo Man has lost the power to heal himself, then slide down. You can't hide at the top of the sliding segment from what I recall, and most weapons can now kill the gunner that comes down very quickly, so sit at the bottom and fire upwards.

Claw section is the same except the last claw can actually hit you now at the bottom of the screen, hah. Pink's attacks are mostly the same as before, but starts by walking towards you. Slide under the legs, hang from under it, and shoot away at the homing bombs. Easy boss.


Stage 2: Green, and The Underground Mine

Seven Force only has five forms, having lost Tails and Eagle Force. :( Green's stage is also pretty short now, and frankly I find it easier than Orange's stage. You're wearing a hoverpack, similar to the miniboss when you first got onto Orange's battleship in the original version. Hold jump to float up, release jump to descend.

What's left of Seven Force is pretty fun though. Soldier Force has no boomerangs but instead regularly uses these big arcing fireballs. The stretchy arm attack hurts but has a lengthy delay and isn't too hard to evade.

Urchin Force is much harder because you don't get the movement telegraphed by that distinct sound effect. When damaged enough it moves to the middle of the screen, where it has a new attack that forces you to move around it similar to the Black Fly's rotating beam attack.

Blaster Force no longer has an exploit and instead sits on the right side of the screen firing away. If it spins, the next shot comes out fast, and it can do a sweep where it travels from top to bottom or vice-versa, firing shots quickly you have to dodge between.

Tiger Force is mostly the same, but slower. Learn the timings of the blasts, and the angled lasers are much easier than before.

Crab Force fires walls and randomly aimed bullets at you. Squeeze through the walls and avoid the bullets as best you can. The best part is it baits you into moving into the space above or below it where there's a big ol' gap. If you do so like a big sucker, then it's RAMMING TIME and Crab Force will immediately move to bash into you.


Stage 3: Orange, and The Flying Battleship

Significantly harder than the opening on the Genesis version. Stay low, only jumping upwards when the platform you're on is nearly offscreen. This gives time for whatever weapon you have (Force + Lightning or Double Chaser are great weapons in this version) to sweep the screen of the falling enemies. You eventually get to a section where enemies are tossing grenades which hurt very hard, as well as weaker flying soldiers. Same rule applies, safest way is actually to jump late so you're as far from enemies as they appear onscreen as possible. Deal with the Phantom wannabe soldier by hiding at the top left or top right, while firing downward. If he's on the lower platform he'll sit there uselessly, unable to hit you.

Smash Daisaku shows up then kinda does nothing. Then you're on the battleship, where you can either fight the Phantom wannabe, whose grenades are annoying, or simply THROW HIM OFF THE BATTLESHIP. He may occasionally land on the edge but with a bit of luck he'll just go sailing off.

The rest of the level up to the helicopter is the same as the Genesis version. Climb up to the metal wire above to deal with the walker boss, grab the health items from the turrets on the poles after, and then hop on the helicopter to deal with- HOLY CRAP WHY IS SMASH DAISAKU SO AGGRESSIVE?! As you can see, Smash Daisaku is flat out nuts on the Game Gear port's Hard mode. He tosses grenades like a madman, throwing about three times as many at a time as he used to, making it extremely hard to dodge. Stop firing and do a long jump over the blasts to try and evade them as they come near, and as usual just keep shooting. He still has that special counterattack if you accidentally throw him, and melee attacks still suck on him.

Orange is far harder to throw reliably, at least I can't find a reliable way to do it without trading damage. He also has a new trick if you're hanging from below where he jumps straight up and then down, knocking you off the helicopter for an easy 20 damage. Since I can't figure out how to deal with him taking minimal damage, the fastest way is to hang below, let him use the blue explosion attack to hit you which will knock you up onto the helicopter, then throw him upwards. As usual, throws off the helicopter will deal negligible damage, he has to be thrown so he lands on the helicopter to receive full damage. You can effectively trade hits this way, but you'll want at least 80 vitality to do so. Haven't figured out how to no damage this yet, sorry, it seems you're not fast enough to swing upwards in time to safely jump away from him whenever he approaches (any help here?).


Stage 4: The Highway (DESTROY THEM ALL)

Much shorter than the Genesis version, but also rather unforgiving. You often will get grabbed and thrown here since the window for grabbing enemies is much narrower. However, the health crates all contain 20 health items instead of 10 health, so if you can get them it's actually pretty worth your while? It'll be down to you as a player to get a feel for which crates you can get safely and which you just wanna run from.

I'd personally recommend getting the items from the first and second set of crates, as enemies that chuck grenades from above have them land harmlessly on the upper platform instead of you. Makes it easy to get. The third stack of crates should be bypassed quickly; don't try to get the heart as timing the jump to land on the crates is very tricky and it takes more time to destroy the extra crates if you want the item. Skip this one and deal with the Phantom wannabe ahead.

Immediately past the Super C Spirits sign is the one and only walker of the level, who now tosses 20 damage grenades everywhere. Very tricky to deal with, shoot it down quickly. Next is an item carrier from the right containing precious health. Get as much as you can from it via jump attacks.

The one and only hovercraft in the level is here. Not sure if you can throw it in this version but it throws powerful grenades at you and has almost no health at all compared to its massive healthpool in the Genesis version (if you shoot it down), so just gun it down quickly.

SUDDENLY, PUNCHING:
Image

A boss suddenly decides it's Marquess of Queensberry Rules time but you're no fool. Instead of trying for punches (which actually do work decently), high jump -> wall jump past him waiting for the dash attack where he throws his arms into the air excitedly then rushes you. Don't be fooled by his normal dash attack; the one he telegraphs longer and more obviously ends with him stunned Love Love Dancing style, whereby you can throw him. Keep throwing him right so if it kills him, you can grab his health item.

Final Great Soldier and his mighty Love Love Dancing appear and-

-oh, bye then, same as before. Smashy rudely tosses him aside and wants to dance. This time he's a major asshole as the hitboxes for the grenades he tosses persist a LONG time after hitting the ground. I've gotten hit many times thinking I timed the jump perfectly, only to get hit as I land. His second phase is also a lot harder to throw reliably. It's... sorta doable when he jump attacks, but it's far harder to bait and do reliably. Like with Orange, it feels like you're trading hits if you do so. He's also got a new dash attack in phase 2 where he rockets in to grab you, telegraphed by him boosting forward with blue smoke, same as his usual phase 1 dash.


Stage 5: The "No Shmup Stage To Be Found Here" Stage

You inexplicably start in that giant spaceship, in a walker mech, where you just slowly march to the right, firing shots constantly. Fire them diagonally up and down repeatedly and you pretty much fill the screen. Heck, jump if you like, walk without shooting, it won't matter. That 100 health is for the mech only; you're healed to 180 health in the next section. Run through the corridor, stopping for the item carrier only if you really want to switch weapons (there's no health carrier). Don't bother fighting the soldiers here, it isn't worth it.

Instead of Unit of the Hammer and Dragon, we get Unit of the Atom, which repeatedly fires fireballs that keep redirecting to your position before dissipating after a number of movements. Do not let yourself get overwhelmed by these, and watch out for when it suddenly cascades down a rain of bullets downwards. It's got a fairly big hitbox, and goes down quickly under direct fire, so it's not all that bad.

Unit of the Runner is even easier than before, due to its hitbox being active much longer after each attack. High jump over the attack, and smack it up close.


Stage 7: The Final Battle

Duck Battalion is similar to before, but sliding under it is less safe when it runs to the left. High jump -> wall jump to get past it whenever possible is preferred. When it makes its jumping attacks, sliding under it can work, though. Figure out if going above it or below it is easier for you, both will work.

The glowing balls are smaller than before and are a bit easier to deal with. Same idea as before, move past them while hanging and swinging up as need be.

Pink Lobster is just as nasty as the Genesis version. Don't get hit by it and abuse its opening when it uses the bubble attack. Piercing weapons help speed this up a lot, particularly the second phase, but you don't technically need a piercing weapon for the second phase to do it safely as long as you are patient.

Please take it slow and don't let the cannons after Pink Lobster hit you.

Orange is the most ridiculous fight of the game. I honestly do not know how to deal with him short of damage racing him. The usual throwing strat simply does not work, and Orange is much faster than you are. You can throw him any time you've just been hit, though, so there's that. I've looked and I found another no death playthrough that also has trouble on Orange. Since there's no safe strat yet known, until I can work out a safer way to beat him you'll just have to get here with enough health to muddle through it. Yes, he's harder than Green is apparently.

Green is tough as before, but he's a tad slower relative to you, and is just slightly easier to hit. If using Force + Lightning, mash the shot button to fire more uniform bursts instead of ones with a gap, it seems to stunlock him better. All of your weapons deflect stars better, but the major exploit where you can lock him in an AI loop of getting shot -> chucking stars -> getting shot again is now gone. He now will choose a random attack any time he's damaged, and may decide to dash at you or try to throw you. However, his speed is lower than it was in the Genesis compared to your movement speed, so evasion is a bit easier. No fancy exploits here, just a straight up boss fight. Keep away from him, as I'm not sure of any way to safely melee or throw him.

Golden Silver no longer has a health item in the room, instead giving you one of every weapon to use. The best weapons may still be Force + Fire and Fire + Chaser, but I decided to stick with Force + Lightning at only 75 vitality remaining, and I still won. Golden Silver is much easier than the Genesis Version thanks to his punches and teleport attack being fairly short ranged. I had no trouble basically jumping away constantly while firing on the gems, walljumping over him, then repeating until I wore him down. The real trick is getting past Orange and Green to make it to him, it seems.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:19 am 


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Damn that's a thorough writeup!

I think I've managed to enjoy Gunstar Heroes once around 10 years ago. Every time I played it before then and since it didn't click with me, and I don't know what was different about my approach.

Turning enemies and bosses into bullet sponges on increased difficulty settings sounds like an incredibly bad habit, but I'll take your word that the game is still good.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:26 am 


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For a game like Gunstar Heroes where many of the bosses involve just learning the patterns, the added spongeyness just means the boss just gets to last a bit longer. Regular enemies don't appear to have any significant health tweaking and go down on Expert easily unless you're using Force + Chaser (which for some reason is made the weakest weapon). Some of the weapons on Normal difficulty are frankly capable of some insane kill speeds! Expert is tough, but still very reasonable for the most part for anyone seasoned in run 'n guns aside from a few notable difficulty spikes (where exploits exist for all of those trouble spots if you like, with most of them being ones you'd discover on your own easily enough).

Unlike a 1 hit kill = death game, Gunstar Heroes is often about managing how much damage you're taking rather than avoiding it altogether (even if a no damage run is technically possible). Accept you'll take a hit here and there, that it's more about not taking the big hits like being thrown or edge crushed for 20 damage sort of thing.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:56 pm 


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Nice posts! Makes me want to give expert mode 1CCs a serious shot. I've credit fed through it once or twice and I definitely remember a lot of bosses being annoyingly durable. Don't think I've ever given force + fire any serious consideration but you sure sold it well. Bullet sponge bosses aside, I think the biggest flaw of Gunstar Heroes is that some hits don't give you mercy invincibility and your life bar can really get torn to pieces when you take a series of hits that stun you but don't give you a chance to recover.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:15 am 


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Thankfully, most of the multihit attacks in the game actually end up being the easier ones to dodge. The real hazards are often the ones that do an instant 20 damage in one pop if they catch you. 20 damage is pretty standard for many attacks, including being thrown (basic soldiers as well as several bosses can throw you at melee range), falling into a pit, or getting crushed on a screen edge by a solid enemy moving into you. Pink Lobster's claw also is a solid 20 per hit, as are the bubbles if you fail to mash out. Several other one hit = mercy invulnerability attacks exist that do less damage, but these can badly wear you down if you get hit repeatedly by something like Smash Daisaku's grenades, or get kicked by basic soldiers.

There's actually far fewer multihit capable attacks that pose a threat to a skilled player. Most will trigger invulnerability in 3-4 hit if you're caught, such as basic laser beams, but there are a few that deal significant damage per hit if you do get caught, so those multihits suddenly eat a ton of health. These attacks tend to be easier to predict or avoid though, with the caveat that you can be punished heavily if you do get caught. The most notable multihit attacks include:

• Pinky Roader's Hitman Shot fires a pretty aggressive and lengthy laser barrage. If you're not cheesing it with a blocking weapon, you need to learn how to dodge and weave aggressively between the beams to minimize the damage you take. The lasers themselves don't do much damage per hit but it rapidly adds up and is quite dangerous if you made it to the boss with low health.

• The laser wall enemy in the vertical section of Green's level is a multihitting enemy that hurts very, very badly if it catches you. And there's three of them one after the other to deal with.

• Soldier Force in the Mine level can multihit hard with the arm stretch attack for 10 damage a pop, which comes out very rapidly on Expert. Very easy to get hit by it if you get close to him on the ceiling. If you accidentally get stepped on it's also very painful and multihits!

• Tails Force can wiggle its tail at you for 10 damage multihits.

• Tiger Force's diagonal beam is quite thin, but potentially can multihit hard if it catches you.

• Eagle Force deals 8 damage multihits if its body touches you. The tail in particular is the tricky bit to avoid.

• Orange's Break Wind, where he launches blue energy waves, multihits hard. It has a wider hitbox than you'd expect when used on you as you're hanging below the helicopter.

• Timeron in the Dice Palace has explosions that multihit hard. The boss itself is totally memorizable, but if you screw up your timing and get caught in a blast, you lose a huge chunk of health.

• Vortex Base in the Dice Palace does a modest 4 damage multihit, but it's a lengthier fight that can mess up someone who's not used to it, leading to some significant damage.

• Unit of the Dragon fires clouds of gas that can multihit. They're big, and the damage adds up quickly if you screw up your dodges. Thankfully, it's a boss fight where each boss is progressively easier!

However, by far the most dangerous of all multihit attacks is HOLY SHIT LITERALLY THE ENTIRE SHMUP STAGE. You get almost no mercy invulnerability triggering, and tons of stuff can multihit stunlock you repeatedly, for lots of damage that rapidly adds up. Even with a starting HP of 200 HP, Expert can rapidly tear you apart due to all the revenge shots fired at you when you kill stuff. It also features enemies with 10 damage per hit multihitting aimed cannons, various small lasers that stun you and open you up for smacking into an 18 damage large asteroid, and one of the most dangerous enemies, the soldier riding a wiggly asteroid snake thing, who is so tanky I think he's pretty near effectively unkillable in Expert. He chases you very quickly and multihit rams you for 15 damage a hit, which is an alarming amount of damage to take from an enemy that suddenly appears and moves very fast. He's a jerk if you forget about him, and learning the shmup stage on Expert is part of what makes an Expert clear very tricky. Fire + Lightning to block all the shots trivializes a huge amount of the stage, letting you focus on dodging and turtling your way through everything.

I remember when I was younger I was curious and tried to see which boss had the strongest attack in the game if it multihit for full damage. The winners if I recall correctly were Orange's second encounter which has that spiraling upward energy attack that multihits for a whopping 16 damage a pop (but is easy to avoid), and the fire gem in the final boss battle that can multihit up to 4 times for 18 damage a hit, totalling a whopping 72 damage. Both of these are relatively manageable to avoid though, as you're supposed to bait the spiral energy by jumping over Orange and shooting back at him, and the fire gem is rather slow and predictable, making sliding under fairly easy (and you can cancel an active gem by throwing it if you're worried Golden Silver will throw you into the fire or something).

Note that the Game Gear port appears to have a lot more mercy invulnerability. Very few attacks allow you to be repeatedly hit, namely the small lasers fired by basic enemies.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:01 am 


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Played through Pink Hour and Pink Heaven today, two short, freeware platformers by Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya. The Cave Story dude. Pretty much they're advertisements for Kero Blaster. The physics and overall gameplay are similar to Cave Story though they're linear games with minimal secrets. There's nothing revolutionary about them but they're perfectly pleasant and you can clear in under half an hour each. Both have unlockable hard modes that put up at least a bit of a fight. In Pink Heaven I chose "strength" the first time and didn't get hard mode, but I did after a second try where I picked "gentleness." Not sure if you have to do both for hard mode, or if you only get it from the umbrella ending. I really need to pick up Kero Blaster one of these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:44 pm 


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Interesting. been meaning to try Kero Blaster myself for awhile but never got off my ass to actually give it a spin, will do it s00n. Those 2 short games seem decent, didn't even know about them.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:41 pm 


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Been spending a little time Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti, it's a nice little game. Kind of the antithesis to the average thing AVGN covers: The four digit passwords made up of numbers being a prime example of simplicity and convenience.

Really like how melee and timing are integral to this series. A lesser game would make you punch mooks multiple times while Splatterhouse lets you cleave through the zombies in one hit and get on with your life. Also I don't think there are any 100% safe spaces - fixed kill lines like Contra has is a big negative imo.

The scene with the chestburster where the chestbursters just keep jumping out and out of the lady is a delightful kind of gag you'd only ever see in a video game. Video games should have been more like this.

Also got around to trying out The Karate Kid. It.. well it has a lot of crane kicks to the head which makes it pretty accurate to its source material, I'll give it that. One thing that I might kind of like in theory is how attacks have wind up time on them.

One of the impacts of China being left out of the game business in the old days is a lack of wuxia/xianxia type games. Kung Fu seems like it would have been a basic starting point for such a thing, but was more of a dead end point instead.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:59 pm 


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<333 Wanpaku. Surprising how few Strider-esque run & slashers there are on Famicom, given its prodigious action/platformer stock. In addition to the huge sprites exploding into confetti with every blow of the cleaver/boomstick, the rolling succession of setpieces, minibosses and free runs is some of the FC's arcadiest - recalls the similarly blitzkrieging Bucky O'Hare. Rolling down the street shotgunning pumpkins one minute, blowing away Baphomet and his KKK hordes the next... I suspect the same guys (NOW Production) did Splatterhouse Part 2 and Part 3, similarly cab-worthy action spectacles. (part of that suspicion is Rick's walk cycle having a similarly quirky, ultimately harmless "drift" in both Wanpaku and SH3)

BryanM wrote:
One of the impacts of China being left out of the game business in the old days is a lack of wuxia/xianxia type games. Kung Fu seems like it would have been a basic starting point for such a thing, but was more of a dead end point instead.


Have you played Ninja Spirit/Saigo no Nindou? Granted its shredding weapons are more proto-Slug than Kung Fu, but in terms of gracefully superhuman action it nails the "flying hero" concept. A singularly volatile lunar nightmare, eleven minutes of icily controlled chaos. Despite an 11th-hour kusoge pratfall (which you can and should use this to skip), it's probably my desert island sidescrolling action game, being simultaneously cathartic yet fraught.Image

Quote:
Also I don't think there are any 100% safe spaces


Saigo is this to a T. While its enemies are individually simple to outplay, their random spawn timing means no two runs will go the same, and you'll be continually forced to multi-task and think on your feet. Only Daimakaimura/Ghouls n' Ghosts does this game-length simmering chaos so well, in my experience.

Image

PCE/TG16 version is very decent, but it can't match the AC's bitterest extremes. PS4 ACA ver is cheap and perfect, I hear Switch ver is good too. Saigo no Nindou (JP)'s the more hardcore (less checkpoints and POWs) yet better-balanced (less spongy enemies) revision.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:20 am 


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I attempted to compare the PS4 and Switch version of Metal Slug side by side and they both seem to be running at the same speed, both seem just as responsive, and both seem to slow down in the right places.

BryanM wrote:
Also got around to trying out The Karate Kid. It.. well it has a lot of crane kicks to the head which makes it pretty accurate to its source material, I'll give it that. One thing that I might kind of like in theory is how attacks have wind up time on them.


Odd thing is that Atlus programmed it. I wonder how they ended up making games for LJN. Telling by the hidden message in Erika to Satoru no Yume Bōken, the programmer of Karate Kid wasn't thrilled to be working on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:30 am 


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Mind blowing cover of Neo Kobe Steel Factory O_O

https://youtu.be/PglCstbTlyk

and the boss theme
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:46 pm 


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Got the Metal Slug one-life clear yesterday. All in all I found it pretty doable, in particular thanks to the CD version's level select and combat school that make getting to grips with the game easy enough. Only real points that gave me sustained trouble are Allen and the final onslaught on the bridge (although I think I inadvertently discovered a pretty good (mostly)-safe spot there during my last run). Rest of the game is pretty much autopilot. As mentioned before I mostly approach it like In The Hunt, carefully inching my way forward and taking out larger targets before they enter the screen — definitely no cocaine-fueled all-guns-blazing edge-of-your-seat suicide-squad moves as in BIL's 1LC. :lol:

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Some closing thoughts on Metal Slug:

- Obvious to anyone who's even just glanced at Metal Slug in passing, but the level of detail and variety put into the graphics is simply put in a league of its own. Same goes for the care put into the overall game design — to me it's a bit like a perfect play between (seemingly) chaos and order as you emerge from a clusterfuck of explosions and screams and bring mass destruction unto Morden's hapless minions. The physics in the game are...unique, but like any good action game, this one is also built around the movement of the player character.

- The game has few flaws, but I'd say one is the bosses. I'd prefer something a little more substantial than simply spamming bombs as quickly as possible. Scoring is also not that interesting. Personally, I just tried to get the POW bonus on every stage and abused the stage 5 glitch a bit.

- The 2-players ending is waaay better!

- I'm gonna give 2, X and 3 another shot in due time, but for now I feel my opinion has again been confirmed that the first Metal Slug is the best entry in the series. Everything in the game fits together so nicely, there are no gimmicks, and it never overstays its welcome. Great stuff all around. I give it 10/10 grenades.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:40 pm 


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congrats!

they definitely fixed the boss bomb spam technique in X and 3...
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:31 am 


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Blinge wrote:
Mind blowing cover of Neo Kobe Steel Factory O_O

https://youtu.be/PglCstbTlyk

and the boss theme


Holy shit, was not expecting that at all. :shock: Niiice. Captured the suspense so well, I could still hear the screen-juddering CRASHHH of the walker during the ascent phase.

CIT wrote:
As mentioned before I mostly approach it like In The Hunt, carefully inching my way forward and taking out larger targets before they enter the screen — definitely no cocaine-fueled all-guns-blazing edge-of-your-seat suicide-squad moves as in BIL's 1LC. :lol:


Coca Cola-fuelled, definitely. :mrgreen: Congratulations, it's a deceptively intense run!

Incidentally, just finished marathonning HBO's Prohibition-era gangster drama Boardwalk Empire. Absorbing show with sumptuous costume/set design and grim mid-tech carnage. MS1's earthy reserve and black-comic ultraviolence feel subtly germane to it, now. While X/3 maintain the cod-WWII aesthetic, they enter the quaint fantasticism of golden age pulp* (Mars Attacks!). MS1, otoh, feels like a comedy/action take on the era's warfare itself. Although I consider the Nazca trilogy a remarkably graceful set, the first game is one of those perfectly contained debuts that's just as satisfying in total isolation.

*although, retroactively at least, the Martians were technically always there! /X-Files Theme

Spoiler: show
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Randomly appears after Allen, or the final stage's bridge collapse. Nice bit of continuity with MSX and MSX3's fly-bys Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:47 am 


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TRYING to play Kung-Fu Master. Unfortunately it seems to have a massive issue with jumping forward. 50% of the time I just jump straight up, it feels as though the game thinks I’ve let go of forward before hitting up. It does this on both my Neo stick and on SNES mini with a pad, and if I remember correctly, I abandoned my last serious attempt at playing this on MAME many years for exactly the same reason. Is this a known thing?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:07 pm 


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Are you going straight from [forward] to [up/forward]? IIRC, the arcade version is especially picky about that - if there's even a few frames' interruption between the walk and jump inputs, you'll get a neutral jump instead. The FC version is a bit less assholic, but it works similarly there too.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + R2RKMF: Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:47 pm 


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Agreed about the coop ending in Metal Slug being way better.

mycophobia wrote:
congrats! they definitely fixed the boss bomb spam technique in X and 3...


What'd they do to change it?
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